- Are you tired of setting intentions that don’t stick?
- Have you struggled to commit to your health goals year after year?
- Do you wish you had the willpower to achieve your New Year’s Resolutions?
You’re certainly not alone. Did you know that 80 percent of people who set New Year’s Resolutions fail, with most giving up by mid-February? (Luciani 2015)
For many of us, a new year symbolises a fresh start, where we can wipe the slate clean from the year we’ve just left behind and focus on prioritising new goals for the year ahead. Yet, while our expectations of what we will achieve in the new year might be optimistic at the beginning, for most of us, that feeling fizzles once the demands of everyday life set back in.
So, are you keen to start 2020 with New Year’s Resolutions that actually stick? Keep reading!
Let’s look at why you may have struggled in the past. While there are hundreds of reasons we don’t see our goals through to completion, most tend to fall into one of three categories:
Too much, too soon - Have you ever set yourself the goal of getting fit and healthy, only to realise a month into eating nothing but salad leaves and training cardio twice a day that perhaps this whole ‘healthy lifestyle’ thing isn’t as easy as it looks? For many of us, our New Year’s Resolutions consist of complete lifestyle overhauls, which means we might bite off a little more than we can chew and end up back where we started. Start small and keep it simple. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and nor will your new habits.
Unrealistic expectations - Most of us set goals and only focus on the after-feeling of what our ‘new life’ will look like once we’ve reached our target. While this may be a great motivating factor, it can also backfire if you aren’t prepared to put in the hard work required to reach the finish line. Let’s be real: most of us want instant gratification and quick results, but unfortunately, the first few weeks of changing our habits are always going to be the hardest. We feel unfit, unpracticed and tempted by our old ways.
‘All or nothing’ mentality - When it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, it’s easy to fall into the trap of setting a highly ambitious goal, only to throw in the towel for the rest of the year if one minor hurdle arises and sets you temporarily off course. Just remember how many years it’s taken to form the unhealthy habits you’re now trying to undo, so give yourself time and be patient with yourself.
With that in mind, here are our top 5 health-focused New Year’s Resolutions that anyone can commit to:
1. Move Your Body More
Has sitting become a little too comfortable for you? We get it. After a long day slumped in front of a computer at work, many of us fall into the trap of doing the same at home, whether it be at the dinner table or in front of the TV. While we should be getting a minimum of 10,000 steps per day, many of us struggle to get even a fraction of our daily exercise requirements. In fact, 60 to 85% of the world’s population don’t engage in enough activity (World Health Organisation).
But, just how bad is it for your health? According to an article posted by John Hopkins Medicine (2019), physical inactivity has been shown to contribute to cardiovascular diseases, a higher chance of developing coronary heart disease, obesity, decreased skeletal muscle mass and poor mental health.
So, how can you make moving more part of your New Year’s Resolution? The answer: start small and incorporate it into your day-to-day tasks. For example:
At work - Take the stairs instead of the elevator, go for a brisk walk around the office every 90 minutes, go for a walk at lunch or ride your bike or walk to work.
At home - Clean, take your dogs for a walk, do some bodyweight exercises during ad breaks or in-between episodes, or incorporate a few exercises while cooking dinner.
Spare time - If you’ve got plans, opt for walking or riding your bike instead of driving, take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator at a shopping centre, plan adventurous activities with friends (ie hiking, golf, beach, etc.) instead of coffee or dinner dates.
Once you get familiar with moving your body more and begin to make physical activity a non-negotiable part of your day, you’ll naturally want to progress your fitness and take it to the next level, where you can challenge yourself to more intense workouts or different forms of exercise. The key is to start small, make it a habit, and build on it.
2. Create A Healthy Sleep Schedule
While it might seem a little odd to make sleeping a New Year’s Resolution, it’s actually one of the most important factors for improving your all-round mental and physical health.
But, why? While you’re sleeping, your body is working hard to support healthy brain function and to maintain your physical health. Your body plays an important role in healing damaged cells, boosting your immune system, recovering from your daily tasks, and recharging your heart and cardiovascular system. In fact, sleep is the secret to maintaining optimal emotional balance, brain health, mental sharpness, energy, and your ability to handle stress adequately.
To improve your quality of sleep and to reach the recommended 7-9 hours per night, try adding some of these simple tips to your routine:
Cut down on caffeine - As a general rule, we recommend cutting your caffeine intake at least 4-6 hours before bedtime. Wondering why? Caffeine has a half-life of roughly five to six hours, which means it will continue to circulate in your body long after you feel the immediate effects. Simply put, a half-life refers to the time required for the amount of any specified property to decrease by half.
Control your exposure to light - Did you know that your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s dark, as opposed to when it’s light? Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone influenced by light exposure that plays an important role in regulating your sleep-wake cycle. Simply put, your brain produces more melatonin when it’s dark, which makes you feel more tired, and less melatonin when it’s light, which makes you feel more alert. If you need to use electronics at nighttime, opt for devices with smaller screens, turn down the brightness and try to avoid reading with backlit devices.
Get your carbs in at night - Consuming carbohydrates before bed helps to increase the production of the neurotransmitter, serotonin. The result? High levels of serotonin at night helps to soothe your brain into a calm, tranquil and relaxed state, which in turn helps you to enjoy a restful night’s sleep. All in all, the higher the amount of serotonin in your bloodstream at night time, the better quality sleep you’re likely to experience. As a rule of thumb, aim to consume 40-50% of your daily carbohydrate intake in the last meal you eat before bed to maximise the benefits of elevated serotonin levels.
3. Make Better Food Choices
It’s not about living strictly off lettuce leaves and poached chicken until you can finally fit into your goal outfit. It’s about making sustainable changes to your diet that are going to put your health first, while simultaneously helping you to reach your goals - whether that be to lose weight, gain muscle or tone up. Just remember: don’t prioritise short-term changes over long-term health benefits. One indulgent meal isn’t going to undo your hard work. It’s what you eat and do consistently over time that will have an impact.
This year, instead of following restrictive fad diets as a means of achieving your goals, focus on adding more of the good stuff and eliminating some of the bad stuff. For example, each fortnight, introduce another vegetable into your meals and learn as many different recipes using that ingredient. Likewise, each fortnight or month (whatever is more realistic for you), aim to eliminate or reduce one unhealthy habit or food from your diet. This could be cutting back on the number of cigarettes you’re smoking per day, limiting your alcohol intake, eating one less sugary treat a day, or deleting your Uber Eats account. Over time, your body will adapt to your healthy habits and you may find that you no longer crave that caramel-dipped doughnut as much as you once did!
Here a few extra tips to get you started:
Cut out artificial sweeteners - Thought Equal and Splenda were healthy? Think again! ‘Fake’ sugars are extremely bad for your health as they spike your insulin, and can contribute to mood disorders, hormone imbalance and weight gain.
Add more nutrients and minerals to your diet - Did you know that only 50% of Australians consume the recommended daily servings of fruit, and a staggering 7% of adults report consuming their daily vegetable requirements? The reality is - most of us are deficient in the basic nutrients that our bodies require to perform and function our best in all areas of our lives. Aim to add one vegetable to each meal and take note of how your body feels and functions with a more nutrient-rich diet.
Drink more water - H2O enhances your metabolism, reduces your food cravings and helps you to feel fuller for longer. Not to mention, it offers endless benefits for your skin, digestion and gut health!
4. Create Gut-Nourishing Habits
It’s no secret that 2019 was the year of the ‘gut health phenomenon’, and it’s without a doubt the most important health trend that’s been put under the spotlight in a very long time.
But, why is all this gut stuff so important? Simply put, your gut is the key to maintaining and sustaining good health. Your digestive system plays an important role in turning the food you consume into fuel. When your gut is functioning as it should, it will prevent sickness and disease and will enhance your energy and immune system. However, when it’s not working its best, your body will not absorb all the nutrients it needs, making you more susceptible to sickness and poor mental health. It’s for this reason that you aren’t necessarily what you eat, but more so what you digest and absorb.
In addition to common gut-related problems such as leaky gut and poor digestion, a compromised gut is also linked to poor mental health because your gut not only houses 80% of your immune system, it is also where your body produces your ‘feel-good’ hormone, serotonin.
If you’re keen to prioritise your gut health in 2020, here are some simple tips to get you started:
Increase your hydrochloric acid intake - Make sure your diet contains a healthy amount of hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes. A simple way of doing this is by starting your morning with one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon in warm water.
Chew more - when we’re not eating mindfully, it’s as though we inhale our food. Slow down and chew your food well (aim for 20 chews per mouthful).
Be serious about your pre and probiotics - Consume more prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods, such as yoghurt, fermented foods, kombucha and high-fibre foods like vegetables and whole grains.
Add Glutamine to your diet - Glutamine is easily consumed in powder form and plays an important role in repairing your gut lining. Simply add it to your smoothie or consume as a standalone drink!
Don’t eat too close to bed - Try to eat your last meal of the day roughly 2-3 hours before bedtime to give your body time to digest your food.
Add chamomile tea to your daily routine - chamomile soothes and relaxes the bowel wall and minimises the risk of constipation.
5. Challenge Yourself Physically & Mentally
You’ve heard the old saying “if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you”, right? Well, there’s some serious truth behind this philosophy. In actual fact, there is no challenge more challenging than the challenge to improve yourself, which is why you should join a …* drum roll* fitness challenge!
If you want to burst into the New Year with the intention of getting leaner, creating healthier habits, improving your mindset and putting yourself first, The ASN 10 Week Challenge is a fantastic way to set the wheels in motion. Just think about it: you get to improve your health and fitness while being surrounded by a team of experts and other people committed to similar goals to help support, motivate and educate you. What a perfect environment to succeed in!
If you’re still not convinced, here are just a few of the benefits of joining The ASN 10 Week Challenge:
It will improve your health and body composition - While this may be an obvious one, it is without a doubt the most important. Exercise improves your cardiovascular fitness by strengthening your heart and lungs and also improves your strength by increasing lean muscle mass. Additionally, regular exercise can also help to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type II diabetes, depression and stress-related illnesses.
You’ll receive all the education, resources and support required to transform your life - As part of our challenge, you’ll receive At Home, Gym and Functional Fitness training plans, standard, vegetarian and vegan meal plans, mindset coaching, nutrition coaching, exercise coaching, a supplement pack, and ongoing support for 10 weeks.
You’ll join an incredible online community - Upon signing up, you’ll be welcomed into an exclusive online community with the ASN team, our expert mentors, and your fellow challengers. You’ll get the opportunity to ask questions, participate in live Q&A sessions, learn about nutrition, exercise and mindset, and engage with challengers. This is the perfect place to feel supported to learn, ask questions, and to truly get the most out of your experience.
You’ll have support every step of the way - From our team of expert mentors and trainers to the ASN support team and your fellow challengers, you’ll have full support throughout your journey. Whether you’ve got questions, are seeking advice or simply don’t know where to start, we promise you won’t have to do it alone with our extremely helpful and engaged team. The support we offer is what has so many challengers coming back year after year!
It won’t break the bank - For only $139, you’ll receive a full 10-week program, including fitness, nutrition, and mindset support. All of this for only $1.98 per day!
If this is the year you truly want to make sustainable changes and actually hit your goals, ditch your standard New Year's Resolution and think about a fitness challenge that ticks all of the boxes. Want to find out more? Sign up for our Free Trial to experience a day in the life of an ASN 10 week challenger.
- Risks of Physical Inactivity 2019, John Hopkins Medicine, viewed 27 December 2019, <https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/risks-of-physical-inactivity>
- Luciani, J 2015, Why 80 Percent of New Year’s Resolutions Fail, U.S. News, viewed 27 December 2019, <https://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/articles/2015-12-29/why-80-percent-of-new-years-resolutions-fail>